In France, schooling is compulsary from age 6. However, the vast majority of French children start school from 2 or 3 years old. The French Ministry of Education has developed guidelines for these classes, and they have become an integral part of the French Education curriculum. The three or four years of Pre-Primary School (“école maternelle”) cover a complete educational cycle over four levels (or “Sections” in French) :
- Toute Petite Section (TPS) from age 2
- Petite Section (PS), from age 3
- Moyenne Section (MS), from age 4
- Grande Section (GS), from age 5
Over these four years, the children develop fundamental skills, acquire the basics of language and discover the world of writing.
These four years are organised around six key areas:
- Appropriating language: the acquisition of a rich oral language, which is well constructed and comprehensible to others
- Discovering writing
- Becoming a student: the ability to exchange and communicate with peers and adults and participate in group activities
- Expressing oneself with one’s body: physical activities in the form of games, body language
- Discovering the world: sensory discoveries, awareness of hygiene, observation of the living world, familiarisation with the concepts of space and time, quantities and numbers
- Perceiving, feeling, imagining, creating, through visual activities, drawing and verbal activities.
Through games, communication and the search for autonomy, our youngest students also become familiar with a bilingual environment while developing their ability to live in a group. Our students are taught English by certified teachers for 25% of their time at school, and follow the Cambridge English programme.
Non French speaking children are accepted in TPS, PS and MS. From GS onwards, only children who already speak French may join the Cape Town French School. Learners arriving from another French school, from France or from the AEFE network, are not subject to testing upon arrival at the Cape Town French School. However, students arriving from another school system must complete entrance tests so that they can be assigned to the class that best corresponds to their level of French.
Also note that for enrolment for the Petite Section, your children must be potty-trained which means no longer wearing diapers/nappies and being almost autonomous in going to the toilet.
The official curriculum of the French Ministry of Education for pre-school can be found here. (In french)